Clogs are cool again, as Grace Back writes for Australian Marie-Claire, citing Marilyn’s 1956 ‘Peasant Sitting’ with Milton Greene as inspiration. This was one of several sittings using sets and costume from the Fox lot, with Marilyn recreating Jennifer Jones’ role in the 1943 movie, The Song of Bernadette.
The most surprising aspect of last week’s Essentially Marilyn auction at Profiles in History was how many valuable items from the Maite Minguez-Ricart collection and others (including movie costumes) went unsold, while others only reached the lower estimate. In a post for his MM Collection blog, Scott Fortner goes as far as to call it a flop – and noting the high prices reached at Julien’s only last month, he argues that poor organisation was to blame, rather than a lack of interest. Here’s a selection of items that sold well, and others that didn’t: you can find the full list over at iCollector.
Photo of Norma Jeane aged five, with her ‘first boyfriend’, Lester Bolender ($10,000)
Wedding photo of Norma Jeane and Jim Dougherty ($15,000)
Seven photos from Norma Jeane’s first assignments with the Blue Book Modelling Agency, 1945 ($11,000)
Marilyn’s personally inscribed photo with Ben Lyon ($37,500 – more info here)
Black silk cocktail dress with oversize white bow, designed by John Moore and worn by Marilyn in 1958 ($40,000)
Gold pleated halter gown designed by Travilla for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ($100,000)
Crème-coloured gown by Travilla for How to Marry a Millionaire ($100,000)
Crème and blue gown by Travilla for There’s No Business Like Show Business ($70,000)
Pink and purple satin pantsuit with train, designed by Charles LeMaire for The Seven Year Itch ($100,000)
Silver cigarette box inscribed by Marilyn to Billy Wilder, 1954 ($10,000)
Sheer tan dress by JAX, worn by Marilyn in 1958 ($20,000)
Patterned wool overcoat, worn by Marilyn in 1961 ($30,000)
Marilyn’s personal key to Warner Brothers, 1956 ($10,000)
Red halter dress by JAX, worn by Marilyn in her final photo session with Milton Greene, 1957 ($100,000)
Certificate of nomination from the Golden Globe Awards for Some Like It Hot, 1959 ($10,000)
Black address book ca 1960-62 ($17,000)
John Bryson’s candid photo of Marilyn and Arthur Miller on the set of Let’s Make Love, signed by both ($8,00)
Pucci silk blouse, worn by Marilyn in 1962 ($95,000)
White Ferragamo pumps, worn by Marilyn in Something’s Got to Give ($16,000)
Marilyn’s original grave marker from Westwood Memorial Park ($38,400)
Period costume by Rene Hubert for A Ticket to Tomahawk (UNSOLD)
Brown Skirt Suit by Charles LeMaire for Love Nest (UNSOLD)
Costume sketches by Eloise Jenssen for We’re Not Married (UNSOLD)
Green dress by Travilla for Don’t Bother to Knock (UNSOLD)
Marilyn’s personally owned Ceil Chapman dress (UNSOLD)
Unreleased studio master for ‘Down Boy’ (UNSOLD – more info here)
Showgirl costume by Travilla for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (UNSOLD)
Charles Feldman’s archive regarding The Seven Year Itch (UNSOLD)
Pearl encrusted gown, one of several copies made for The Prince and the Showgirl (UNSOLD)
Two address books, ca. 1950s-60s (UNSOLD)
Various exhibition prints by Milton Greene (UNSOLD)
Actress Sally Kirkland began her career just after Marilyn died, in 1963. She played small roles in some notable films, including The Sting, The Way We Were, A Star Is Born and Private Benjamin, before earning an Oscar nomination for Anna (1987.) She later played Marilyn in The Island, a 1998 comedy which imagines a young man finding Monroe and John F. Kennedy still alive and well on a desert island (which sounds rather like a bizarre sequel to Something’s Got to Give.)
Now 76, Sally has unforunately suffered a head injury after falling during a radio appearance, and is now in hospital undergoing surgery but is expected to make a full recovery. In a 2016 interview with Jeff Cramer for his Stone Cold Crazy blog, she revealed that Marilyn had been an important influence on her career. (The story that Shelley Winters told Sally about Marilyn’s ‘fuck-me shoes’ should probably taken with a large pinch of salt, as Shelley was prone to exaggerate. As far as I know, the phrase was popularised during the 1990s.)
“I stopped being shy sometime in the early ’60s,with what’s called ‘the private moments’ at the Actors Studio where I do my imitation of Marilyn Monroe on the calendar. I would find some way to take my clothes off in a private moment, and with Lee Strasberg’s support. Pretty soon, everybody in the Actors Studio was waiting for me to take my clothes off.
I was obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and also at 18 I had met Shelley Winters who took me under her wing, adopted me. She had lived with Marilyn. So she gave me Marilyn’s shoes that were open toe, open back and they were called ‘Fuck Me Shoes’ according to Shelley. Marilyn’s Fuck Me Shoes. I wore them everywhere. I wore them absolutely everywhere and that gave me the power of being Marilyn Monroe. It also gave me the power to take off all my clothes.”
Michael Troyan, author of Twentieth Century Fox: A Century of Entertainment, will be giving several talks at local libraries in his native Sacramento over the next few weeks, as Debbie Arrington reports for the Sacramento Bee.
(The story mentioned in the article about Marilyn shaving an inch off the heel of her shoe to achieve her signature wiggle – as told to Troyan by photographer Lawrence Schiller – may be apocryphal, as none of her shoes sold at auction appear to have been altered. As Marilyn once said, ‘I learned to walk at six months old and haven’t had a lesson since.’)
“How Troyan managed to compile a definitive history of an ever-evolving entertainment giant is an amazing accomplishment in its own right. First, he had to talk Fox into it.
‘I started this project in 2010 – five years out (from Fox’s 100th anniversary in 2015),’ he said. ‘It took them five years to decide yes.’Then, I spent two more years actually getting it done. You can’t do a book like this without the studio’s art and photos. I needed access to their archives.’
‘Unlike Disney, Fox had never done a book about its history,’ Troyan said. ‘They did one book on costumes (Styling the Stars, co-written by Angela Cartwright), but that was it.’
Once Fox gave his project its blessing, Troyan discovered a treasure trove of forgotten photos and movie mementos, stashed away in hundreds of file boxes for decades in studio storage. Fox archivist Jeffrey Paul Thompson became a collaborator, as did filmmaker and Hollywood historian Stephen X. Sylvester.
‘I wanted to see everything and hear everything,’ Troyan said. ‘You can read all the articles and books on a subject, but it’s not until you started interviewing people did you really get it – the full picture.’
‘This is a celebration of Fox and movie making,’ he said of his book. ‘We covered the scandals and controversies – and there were plenty – but most of all, I wanted (the book) to be accurate.'”
“Marilyn Monroe famously sang ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,’” Sheila Gibson Stoodley writes for Robb Report, “but collectors of her memorabilia disagree. Seven of the 10 most-expensive Marilyn Monroe items sold at auction are dresses—mainly costumes that the late star wore in her films. The few that she donned outside of the studio earn their high sums thanks to period photographs that prove Monroe wore them.” And over at his MM Collection Blog, Scott Fortner – who helped to catalogue this week’s auction at Julien’s – takes a closer look at the ‘I’m Through With Love‘ dress from Some Like It Hot, and the ‘After You Get What You Want‘ dress from There’s No Business Like Show Business. Both costumes are from the David Gainsborough Roberts collection, and will go under the hammer tomorrow.
Several other items which contributed to Marilyn’s glamorous look are also among the lots. From her modelling days onward, Marilyn often wore her own clothing in photo shoots. These brown leather sandals date back to a 1950 session with photographer Earl Leaf, shot at the Hollywood home of her agent, Johnny Hyde.
Unlike her cinematic alter-ego Lorelei Lee, Marilyn wasn’t really a material girl. These earrings, worn to the premiere of The Seven Year Itch, were made from simulated diamonds.
Marilyn’s movie costumes were made in duplicates, with her name next to the Fox logo on a sewn-in label. This green lace bodice from Bus Stop was won in a contest by a lucky reader of the British fan magazine, Picture Show.
These red satin platform shoes – designed by Annello & Davide – were born by Marilyn to the London premiere of Arthur Miller’s controversial play, A View From the Bridge.
John Moore’s pencil sketches for the form-fitting mermaid gown worn by Marilyn to the premiere of The Prince and the Showgirl are also on offer.
“A two-page, typed plan titled ‘Calorie Restricted Diet/ 1000 Calories/ 100 Grams Protein’ prepared for Monroe by Dr. Leon Krohn. The pages are undated, but some of the approved foods and meal plans are in line with the notations found in Monroe’s hand in the back of one of her notebooks from 1958. The diet put forth presents sound health advice even by today’s standards, recommending the restriction of sugar, fats and carbohydrates to whole wheat and ‘one small white potato boiled baked or riced’ as a substitution for one slice of bread.
Five sets of instructions, eight pages, from the Erno Laszlo Institute written out for Marilyn Monroe Miller, dated June 5, 6, 11, and 12, 1958, and July 3, 1958, outlining her constantly changing skincare regime in great detail. The instructions not only divide skincare into ‘Morning,’ ‘Evening if dressing,’ and ‘Evening before retiring,’ but also there are instructions on what not to eat: ‘Not one piece of any kind of nuts, olives, chocolate, clams and oysters.’ There are also separate instructions for California and ‘Instructions for Makeup While Making Films.'”
These white leather shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo are just one of several pairs that she owned. (The spiked heels were 3 inches high, and the size was 7.5B.)
In the spring of 1958, Marilyn made plans to appear at the Cannes Film Festival. Simone Noir sent her an invitation to visit Christian Dior in Paris. Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled, but a separate invoice shows that Marilyn bought a dress and coat by Dior from a Park Avenue boutique.
That Christmas, Marilyn’s longtime hairdresser, Agnes Flanagan, gave her a bottle of her favourite perfume, Chanel No. 5, purchased from I. Magnin in Beverly Hills.
Finally, a costume sketch by Bob Mackie for Something’s Got to Give. Based on a Jean Louis design, the red skirt suit with a swing jacket trimmed in leopard print, and matching hat, was intended as an ‘Outfit Worn on Day Off/Also in Courtroom Sequence.’ However, the ensemble was not worn by Marilyn during wardrobe tests, or any surviving footage from the ill-fated movie.
Edgardo Osorio has launched a capsule collection for Salvatore Ferragamo, recalling the legendary Italian designer’s reputation in Hollywood as ‘shoemaker to the stars’, reports AccessWDUN. The range includes a Marilyn-inspired pump with sheer netted panels.
Ferragamo’s grandson James claims that Marilyn bought a pair of Ferragamo shoes from a shop in Madison Avenue, NYC, for $45 in the late 1940s. Marilyn didn’t live in New York permanently until 1955, but James says he has the receipt to prove it. He also repeats the rumour that Marilyn had one heel cut several milimeters lower than the other to achieve the famous Monroe wiggle. Marilyn’s masseur, Ralph Roberts, also mentioned this, although this alleged anomaly has not generally been noted by auctioneers.
Perhaps Marilyn should have the last word: “I learned to walk when I was nine months old, and haven’t had a lesson since.”
Click on the image above, and look closer: the woman in this painting is wearing slingbacks decorated with Marilyn’s visage, Warhol-style, reports Women’s Wear Daily. ‘Triple Portrait: World Conqueror‘ is part of Hearts Hands Eyes Mind, a new exhibition by artist Barkley L. Hendricks (the latest in a 40-year career), on display until April 6 at Jack Shainman Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.
Marilyn’s penchant for stiletto heels – as worn in The Seven Year Itch – is examined in Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us, a new book by Rachelle Bergstein.
After reading David Wills’ Metamorphosis, Jillian Lucas of Refinery 29 has noted Marilyn’s fondness for a certain pair of Lucite heels, which she wore for numerous photo shoots from 1952-53 (often changing the ribbon on the shoe to match her swimsuit.)